Thursday, September 30, 2010

2 become 1 when you get married, then baby makes 3. huh?

Does that mean you become one when you get married, then you separate back into 2 when you have a baby? 

My good friend had twins 11 days ago and I can't get over how tiny they are.  They a little less that 4 weeks early but after 10 days in the NICU, they are home and doing great.  I am dying to hold them, but I'm trying to give the new family some time and space to be just that, a family.  It's definitely different than being a couple.  We are still trying to figure that out. 

It's hard to balance being a couple with being a family but I know that the former is just as important to maintain as the latter.  There's so much guilt associated with being a mommy and it's hard for me to break away from my precious little baby.  Each hour, day, week, and month that has passed since Theo was born has gone by all too quickly.  I still think of him as my newborn baby, but I know that no one else does.  We don't get the "oh he's so tiny, how old is he?" questions anymore.  We get the "he's a little flirt" and "whatta big boy" comments instead.  The point, friends, is that I don't want to waste time being away from my baby because time with him is the one thing that we'll never, ever get back.  Time is such a precious thing.  I never realized how much truth there was in that sentiment until I had my baby boy.

But time with my husband is precious too, and I know that we haven't made enough time for each other recently.  We live in the same house, stay in touch via text and telephone throughout the day, and spend nearly every moment of every weekend together doing something. Whether it's "quality" time or not, we are together.  We still hold hands and hug and laugh and enjoy spending time together.  We have never been much on fighting (not since we lived in the same state, anyway), so that's not really an issue, but we really miss each other.  As much love as Theo has added to our lives, it definitely feels like something got taken away at the same time.

The dynamic changes when you add a baby to the relationship/marriage mix.  It's stressful at times.  It's a whole new level of love and responsibility.  It's easy to focus on the baby and the baby alone because, let's face it, he demands a ton of attention and energy.  At the end of the day, there's no time or energy left to invest in anything meaningful.  As much as I love my sweet husband, I guess I've had the mindset that he will always be there.  He's constant and predictable and these fine qualities haven't once changed in the 11+ years we've been together.  But that doesn't mean that our relationship doesn't need to be nurtured.  I DO realize this.

So, we have agreed to let his parents keep Theo overnight next Saturday.  Bless them for being willing and able.  It's the first time it's been feasible really, what with the whole nursing thing (which is steadily decreasing).  I get a little nervous and anxious when I think about it.  Not because I think his grandparents can't or won't take good care of him, but because I worry.  It's that mommy guilt creeping in.  What if he wakes up in the night and doesn't know where he is?  Or worse, doesn't know where his mommy and daddy are?  What if he wants me and I'm not there for him?  He won't understand that.  Realistically, I know he will be fine, but these are the thoughts that go through my head.  I just have to push the worry out of my mind and not dwell on it. 

I remember dropping him off at the babysitter (who was little more than a stranger to us at the time) on the first day and thinking over and over "but she doesn't love him."  Now I don't give it a second thought, because I know he loves it there and he is in good hands.  I'm sure it will be the same way once Theo has spent the night away from mom and dad a time or two, but these kinds of baby firsts are hard. 

I just can't figure out if I want him to miss me or not. 


p.s. Oh, and I AM very excited about a night out with my hubby...and sleeping in on a Sunday morning!  Woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

three oh

Earlier this year, I turned 30.  My entire life, even right up until I turned 30, I thought 30 was old.  There were times when I felt old, but 30 has always meant officially old.  There are things you just can't (well, shouldn't) get away with anymore when you are 30.  30 means responsibility.  Retirement savings.  Financial planning.  The occasional bodily ailment.  The more than occasional gray hair.  Minivans and selflessly cleaning up other people's messes. Needless to say, I had been dreading 30 ever since I realized that I wasn't going to be young forever.

30 came.  30 went.  We had a great little get-together with some family and close friends.  I waited for reality to set in.  I gave it about 10 minutes' thought and came to a realization (and breathed a contented sigh of relief).

I took a little inventory of my life at age 30 and guess what?  It's not so bad.  If we're all so lucky, we will all turn 30 and 40 and so on, so why get bent out of shape about getting older?  Of course we are going to get older, and really, do we want to be stuck in time?  Life moves on, and so do we.  So I'm happy to be able to reach 30 and have my health.  I gave birth to the most beautiful little baby boy 2 months before my 30th birthday and I could not ask for more than everything he is in a baby.  He has added so much more joy to my life.  I have a husband that I adore, even if we don't get to spend as much time together as we'd like.  We don't live paycheck to paycheck.  We share a cute and modest home that we are proud to own (or are in the process of owning) and have improved little by little with our own hands (and the help of a few other hands).  I have graduated from college, which is one of my proudest personal achievements.  I feel loved equally by my family of origin as I do by the family I have married into.  I have the most sincere and wonderful friends I've ever had in my life.  None of these things make my life especially remarkable or extraordinary, but they are the little accomplishments that carry me through time from one day to the next, one week to the next, and one year to the next, with a smile on my face and contentment in my soul.

Maybe if my inventory experiment left me feeling empty, I'd take the time to pity myself for turning 30.  But when I step back and take a look at my life, I'm happy.  Sure, there are things I would change here and there, but when push comes to shove, I have everything I need.  Bring on the (occasional) gray hair, the (few and far between) wrinkles, and (extra) candles on the cake because I'm 30.  And I can definitely rock 30.


Friday, September 24, 2010

baby's 1st commercialized-money-waster of a holiday

BOO! (hoo)

I feel the need to get Theo a Halloween costume, if for no other reason than to dress him up in it for five minutes and take his picture so we'll have it to look at 10 or 42 years from now.  Obviously he is not going Trick-or-Treating this year, so is there even a point? 

I feel like a bad mom because some of my mommy friends have had their babies' costumes for weeks and perhaps even (gasp) MONTHS!  I have looked for them at a couple of different stores and I must be a slacker because the costumes are already pretty picked through.  I just can't find anything that screams "THEO!"

Am I a loser of a parent for not being on top of this a month ago and for not wanting to spend more than $10 or $20 bucks on such junk? 

Sigh.  I'll let you know what we decide on. 


Thursday, September 23, 2010


julian pigott

Despite the fact that we've had record-breaking highs in the 90s this week, the fact that Fall is here makes me a little sad.  Things are changing so fast.  And there's barely a "Fall" anyway...we have about two weeks of refreshingly Fall-ish weather, then it's on to Winter.  Ew.

Wait...technically, Theo was born in the Winter, if only by 2 weeks.  This is the fourth season of his life already.  Besides Theo's birthday being a part of it, I hate Winter and nearly everything about it.

To some people, Fall means comfy sweaters, cozy boots, and huddling over a bonfire with a hot toddy.  To me, Fall = Pre-Winter.  It means it won't be long until my purse is perpetually falling off of my shoulder because my bulky coat is too poofy to keep it in place.  It means itchy scarves and seeing my own breath.  It means slipping and sliding all over the road when I hit a patch of ice.  It means having to wear icky socks and shoes that tie up.  And don't forget about the toes that don't thaw out til mid-April.  It means back-breaking leaf-raking.  It means all of the color drains out of my world for 5 long, cold months as the leaves die and sadly float away from their branches.  The sky turns an ominous shade of gray that won't go away.  It means doing a delicate balancing act like an elephant on a tightrope down the long, icy driveway just to check the mail.  It means I lose my husband to the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV for the next 5 months.  Don't forget about the sun setting at 5:30pm.  What could be worse than that?  I'm dreading having to bundle Theo up in God-knows-what to keep him warm.

Even though it's still Summer-hot here, I'm getting the Fall/Winter blues already.

The only good thing about Winter is when it's over, which you can easily detect by the little things.  They really are the highs of life for me.  Like the first flip-flop day.  The first daffodil I see.  The first windows-open/cleaning-while-listening-to-loud-music kind of day.  The first buds on the Bradford Pear trees and that horrible smell that comes with them.  Peeps.  Kids on Spring break.  The only good thing about that it alway turns into Spring. 

And that is a real good thing.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3.8.10 (my proudest day ever)

Like I mentioned before, I was admitted to the hospital the night before my induction was to take place so that Cervidil could be placed. The goal with Cervidil is to prime the cervix for the induction, and supposedly make it more receptive to Pitocin, which is actually intended to start or strengthen contractions. I don't know how to describe it, but it was placed at the entrance of the cervix and was extremely uncomfortable going in...about 10 times worse than having your cervix checked for dilation, for anyone who has experienced that pleasure.

I was surprised when the nurse came into the room to ask me if I was feeling the contractions that were registering at the nurse's station. She said I was contracting about every 6 minutes. Nope. Didn't feel a thing.
I was scared of the I.V. It wasn't bad at all. I hated wearing the blood pressure cuff and I hated that they didn't want me to wear a bra. I'm not sure what that was all about, but they let me sleep without the cuff so I dropped it. My last, late-night, pre-baby meal was a grilled chicken sandwich and mandarin oranges from Wendy's. Bleh.

They removed the Cervidil and it had done it's job...I want to say I was about 50% or 75% effaced. I got up and took a shower before they started my Pitocin. That got going right on time at 8am and the nurse was in every 10 to 15 minutes, turning it up to increase the strength of my contractions. I felt crampy/achy like PMS but nothing worse than that. I kept waiting for the serious pain to set in. The first time they checked me after the induction was officially under way, I was at 2cm. Two hours later...3cm. Two hours later...4cm. I wasn't much more uncomfortable than I had been at the beginning so I didn't feel like I needed my epidural yet, but the nurse informed me that the anesthesiologist was about to go into a Cesarean and I might want to go ahead with the epidural.

I opted for Nubain instead at that time, which made me loopy, then sleepy. When they woke me up, I got my epidural and the doctor came and broke my water. I was scared of the epidural too, but it was a breeze, aka: BFF. Everything was going so much smoother than I'd expected. The doctor broke my water at 5pm and when they checked me at 7, I'd gone from 4cm to 8cm.

The nurse warned me about "breakthrough contractions" and I asked what that was supposed to mean. The nurses were switching shifts at that time and I remember them looking at each other like "silly girl" and then one of them explained that the pain might be breaking through the epidural block. Ohhh.

I did feel slightly more uncomfortable and got to a point where I didn't feel much like talking. I was so lucky to have my wonderful husband, my mother, my sister, and my in-laws in the room with me most of the day. At that point though, I really just wanted to be alone with the hubs. The reality of what was about to happen was setting in. And I'm not talking about the reality of motherhood or becoming a parent for the first time. I was seriously freaking out about pushing a big ol' baby out a small you-know-what. I got really nervous. I wanted time to slow down, because I knew when they came to check me at 9pm, I would be ready to go. They did and I was. However, I didn't fully understand what my nurse meant with regard to the urge to push because I wouldn't describe what I was feeling at that time "the urge to push." So foolishly, I said "no." I think I could have figured it out, but maybe if we'd started then, it would have just taken that much longer. It was 9:15pm when she came back from talking to the doctor, who said to give me 30 minutes to "labor down" with no additional epidural goodness.

I watched the time tick by on the clock and before I knew it, 9:45 was there and so was my nurse. Man, she was prompt. It was just me, her, and my husband. She helped me get into position and was coaching me on how to push. I asked her if this was just for practice because it didn't feel like anything was happening. She laughed and said that this was IT. She said I was moving the baby well with each push. Between pushes we were joking and I was still not feeling the discomfort that I had been expecting and fearing. It wasn't long before another nurse showed up and they were both raving about how much hair the baby had. What? They could already see the head? I still didn't feel like I'd done anything. With a total of four of us in the room, I gave a couple more pushes and Courtney, my L&D nurse told me to hang out through the next couple of contractions and not to push because it was time to get the doctor.

When he showed up a couple of minutes later, things started getting serious. Three, maybe four more pushes and Theo was crowning. I'm not sure who attached a razor blade headband to his scalp but the epidural had worn off by that point. Once a good portion of his head was out, I was feeling some seriously indescribable pain. The head came out and the doctor told me to give one more good push. Nothing.

Then, pandemonium. There was screaming. There was yelling. There was repositioning me and the bed and people pushing on my belly. There were commands to keep pushing and don't stop. Later, my hubs said he could tell that the doctor was a bit freaked out because of the intensity on his face and the urgency with which he was calling out commands. I had my eyes squeezed tight while pushing with everything left in me. I didn't really understand the seriousness of the situation at that very moment. As it turns out, Theo had a mild shoulder dystocia that lasted about 10 seconds. If you click that link, you'll see that there are few situations that are scarier for an OB. But, before long, Theo decided to come on out and greet us.

I have a fuzzy memory of those few minutes, as they were fueled by so much adrenaline and emotion. I asked if I was screaming during and right after the birth, because I remember it that way but apparently I wasn't. They plopped Theo up on my stomach for a moment and then the doctor said to my husband that he had to cut the umbilical cord. Theo wasn't breathing right away so they swooped him over to the warming table, where he did begin to breathe and whimper. It took him forever to cry, though, and he never really did while we were still in the L&D room. I watched in the mirror while the nurse tried to agitate him by flicking his foot and rolling him back and forth. I couldn't believe how cute his little face was. So that's what you looked like in there, huh?

And the hair...oh the hair! Lots of thick black hair sticking straight up. I just couldn't have imagined him being any more adorable. He was born at 10:39pm, less than an hour after I started pushing. With the exception of those few EXTREMELY painful moments and the uneasiness I felt while the doctor was stitching me up, the entire process went so much smoother than I ever imagined. That mirror on the ceiling that allowed me to watch the nurse with Theo was the same one that allowed me to see what the doctor was doing and that was NOT cool! Pretty traumatic really. There was a lot of blood and pain. The doctor began stitching me and I felt every bit of it. Lidocaine fixed that problem. But they had to give me something else because my uterus was not contracting or my blood wasn't clotting or something...I can't remember exactly what but it was a quick fix as well.  We enjoyed a half hour or so alone with our baby after I was stitched up and it was determined that his breathing was good enough. Then, the grandparents and my sister, came in to see the spectacle that was Theo. Enter: Paparazzi.

It was fun to see them oohing and ahhing over him and it felt good to know that this little tiny person was already loved so much by so many people.

They got about 15 minutes with him and then he had to go to the nursery for some newborn tests and they had to transfer me to my post-partum room.

Postpartum recovery: Coming up.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

stay or go?

We're having a major dilemma at our house.

We love our house.  It's cozy and comfortable.  It's a 50 year old brick ranch with beautifully restored original hardwoods.  There are some charming features, such as the crank out windows, the radio/intercom speakers in every room (mind you, the house is less than 1500 sq. ft, so the intercom system is completely unnecessary...but cute), and the smaller details such as the unique ceiling pattern in every room.  We also love the neighborhood, with its 50 foot tall trees and sprawling yards.  No two homes are the same but they have a certain corresponding 1960s personality.  On top of all this, the location is perfect for usWhat's not to love?

How about the not-so-charming tiny closets...or the single solitary bathtub?  We also don't love the tiny garage that we can barely fit both cars in (forget about the contortionist act that we put on when it's time to get out of the car).  Our closets are so small that I have to put my clothes in dresser and closet of the guest bedroom.  So what are we supposed to do when we have another kid?  Unload both of them in the driveway, take them in, then pull the car in?  Buy a rolling wardrobe rack to keep in the hallway for my clothes?  Take 2 hours to bathe everyone in our family (not to mention how long it already takes when we have overnight guests)? Simply put, we're out of space in this sweet little starter home.

The options:
1. Put our house on the market and wait for a buyer, THEN start looking for a home to purchase.  
2. Find a house we like, make an offer, and hope like heck that someone will buy our house quick.  Two mortgages is really not an option.
3.  Add on to our house - either an upstairs master suite or somehow figure out a sensible way to add on to the back.

This is tough for us.  We have been in our house for over six years now.  We knew we wouldn't stay there forever but it's going to be hard to leave.  It's where we went from couple to family.  We've done so much work and made so many improvements along the way.  The sentimental part of me wants to add on so we can keep living in our little house, but I'm afraid of unforseen costs adding up and subsequently putting more into the home than it would ever be worth.  I'm also a little nervous about living in a construction zone for who knows how long.  My father-in-law could build a house with his two hands and I know that he would help us with every step that we didn't pay a contractor to do, but that's asking a lot.  But we wouldn't have to worry about the very possible financial pickle that I'm so afraid of - buying a house and not being able to sell ours.

If we do make an offer on a home, we have to worry about keeping our current house ready to show at all times.  Hard to do with an infant and a crazy work schedule.  That wouldn't be a problem if we added on.  We also have to think about the money we'd lose to realtor commissions.  If we could sell it by owner, we'd save a lot, but neither of us have the first clue how to go about doing that. 

It's all so frustrating and stressful.  Have you even been in this situation?

the side of the kitchen that faces our big backyard

view of kitchen from the den

the den that we recently remodeled from floor to ceiling

living room

nursery - also recently remodeled :)

What to do, what to do?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

pregnancy recap

*after reading this post, I realize it would be much more exciting if I'd uploaded some pics to help tell the story.  Well....that would take time.  And time is something I don't have much of.  If I get around to uploading them, I'll post a link in a newer blog. Deal?*

Like I mentioned before, I found out I was pregnant with Theo super early...4 weeks and 1 day.  So the first trimester that I couldn't tell anyone dragged on and on.  I remember early signs or symptoms such as suddenly having to pee all the time, my boobs got big and sore, and there were a few days of crampiness and spotting right after I found out and that scared the crap out of me.  It turned out okay, as I ended up getting a couple extra ultrasounds out of it and heard his heart beat for the first time at 6 weeks. 

The 12 week appointment was kind of fun because we got to see his little arms and legs on the ultrasound and afterwards, I paraded around my office with the printouts.  There was one perfect picture of his tiny hand where his thumb was 90 degrees from his pointer finger like an "L." Right then was when I knew he was gonna be super cute.

At 14+ weeks we had a bunch of stupid genetic testing done, because I thought if something was wrong with my baby, I wanted time to plan and prepare for it.  Reasons that was a dumb idea: 1) It's not like I would have aborted it regardless  2) It was too late and the results weren't even reliable 3) It ended up costing us $600+ out of pocket because it wasn't medically necessary. 

At 18 weeks, we found out our little munchkin was a boy.  The ultrasound tech said at 14 weeks that she thought she saw a penis but it could have just been the cord in the way so she wouldn't commit to her hunch with any certainty.  I figured it was a boy, but I don't know if it was becuase of some motherly instinct or if it was because I secretly hoped to have a girl first.  Okay, not so secretly.  When we found out it was a boy, I don't think either of us were surprised.  Happy either way, but not surprised.  I was just glad to finally know SOMETHING about the baby so I could start planning and buying stuff.

I started showing aroung 16 or 17 weeks.  Man, was I impatient.  I wanted that cute belly like crazy.  Too bad there's a period of about 2 months where you just look fat, not pregnant.  I don't know how cute it was when it showed up, but it did.  I think I was 18 weeks and 5 days when I felt what I knew for sure were kicks.  It was so cute - I was sitting on the couch, using the laptop and I felt some flutters.  I yelled at Theo's daddy and he came running in and put his hand on my belly, thinking he would be able to feel him too.  I was closer to 22 weeks when he was able to, but that was kind of a fluke.  He wasn't able to feel much again until 24 - 26 weeks.

Heartburn developed around 24 weeks and lingered with me throughout the pregnancy.  The first time I had it, I thought I must be dying.  For people who get heartburn all the time, pregnant or not...oh man.  Your life sucks.  I'd never had heartburn before and it felt like my throat was closing up to where I couldn't breathe.  It was hot and painful and made my eyes water.  It subsided after 10-15 seconds, but often came back multiple times.  Sometimes what I ate seemed to make a difference, but towards the end, it didn't matter much at all.  Tums and Zantac were my BFFs for awhile.

The belly was definitely getting big by 28 weeks, which was the week of Christmas.  I had my 2 hour glucose tolerance test that week and the 3 hour test at 30 weeks, then my result...BIG FAT FAIL.  I will write another blog on Gestational Diabetes, but from there on out, I was on a strict diet and was checking my blood sugar 4x a day.  Ick.

Also around 30 weeks, I went into major freakout mode because all we had in the baby's room was furniture and a few clothes.  No carseat, no stroller, no mattress, no changing pad, diapers, etc.  Nothing!  And no baby showers were scheduled yet so I was nervous about lots of things.  Then, everything magically fell into place.

I had a baby shower at 34 weeks and another one at 35 weeks. I am still astounded by everyone's generosity.  We barely bought anything in Theo's room.  In fact, I can look around his room today and identify pretty much every item in there and who it was a gift from.  The only big purchases we made were his furniture and bouncy seat. 

After Theo was born, we traveled 7+ hours (it's supposed to take 5) to my mom's, where she threw Theo a book party.  Since we already had everything we needed, mom asked everyone to bring a favorite children's book with an inscription.

My husband's work threw him a "diaper shower" so everyone brought a pack or a box of diapers.  My sweet cousin, who works at a hospital, can get diapers at a discount so she has given us TONS of them.  I'm happy to say that we have only bought diapers at the store ONE time in over 6 case you didn't know, that's pretty awesome!

To date, I have sent out over 80 thank you cards (and I still have a short list of names on the dry erase board of people I still need to send them to).  So overwhelmed by the love!

I remember around 34 or 35 weeks thinking "what's wrong with people? Being pregnant's not so bad!"  I had heard so many people talking about being DONE with pregnancy and taking all sorts of measures to try to coax their bodies into labor.  I was in no hurry.  I figured that I was a lot less busy than I would be after the baby was born, not to mention the physical discomfort I would be experiencing after giving birth!

That mindset changed pretty rapidly once I hit 36 or 37 weeks.  Everything was uncomfortable.  Sitting. Standing. Lying down.  Showering. Eating. Using the bathroom. Tying my shoes.  Everything.  Every day was a day when I couldn't imagine being pregnant for another 24 hours.  Each week felt like a lifetime.  Ooof, that was rough. 

At my 38 week appointment, the doctor suggested an induction the following Monday, which was the day I would reach 39 weeks.  After asking a million questions, we agreed and started reciting Theo's birthday in our heads.  March 8th ... it has a nice ring to it.  :)

One thing I liked about the timing of my pregnancy was the weather.  It gets damn cooooold in the midwest for several months at a time.  While the winter wasn't too extreme last year, the coldest parts of the winter were towards the very end of my pregnancy...January and February.  I became so hot-natured that I would have to go stand outside in 10 degree weather after blow drying my hair.  Everyone else would be freezing and I was comfortable for a change.  I can't imagine being hugely pregnant through the summer.  For anyone who has endured it...props to you. 

Soooo, anyway...I went to the hospital on Sunday, March 7th to start the induction process, but that's a story for another day!

Have a great weekend, ya'll!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

cats aren't kids

Before I had my sweet little baby boy, I called my cats my kids.  I knew they weren't human, don't worry.  But I loved them, looked forward to seeing them, and invited them onto my lap whenever I sat down on the couch.  We've had the gray female cat, Sylvie, for 6 years and the orange male, Niko, for almost 2. 

a rare photo of Niko (l) and Sylvie (r) within 2 feet of each other

Now that Theo is here, when I get a chance to lie down in bed or on the couch baby-free, I don't want another 6 or 14 pound creature smothering me (yes, our male cat is a hefty one).  I feel so guilty.  They are surely jealous of all the time and attention Theo gets and I should spend extra time with them when I can, but now it just seems like they get in the way.  What kinda life is that?

Actually, it's pretty good, I guess...they sleep all day, pretty much eat all they want, and they do get love every day (just not as much as before).  But the problem is not only that I feel guilty for not spending more time with them or seeing them as my babies anymore.  Now I see them as work.  Litterbox. Food.  Brushing.  Clipping claws.  Cleaning up fur.  Lint-rolling my clothes.  Not sitting on the couch if I have on a black shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I do still love them.  I love them enough that the thought of giving them away makes me too sad to ever go through with it.  They brought me a lot of joy in the years before I had a real baby.  See, what's troublesome, is that Sylvie, who's 6 now (come on!), can't clean her own litterbox.  She still can't fix her own plate.  She can't even get her own water out of the sink.  Neither can Niko, but Sylvie's needier than he is.  She can't be independent and do her own thing.  If I am home, she has to follow me everywhere I go like a dog.  I just don't know if I'm going to have the time and love to give to her as my life gets busier.  She has made some compromises and sat on Theo's boppy while I'm feeding him so I can pet her.  She's even humored me by letting Theo pet her and pull her fur, which I found pretty sweet and endearing.  Nonetheless, she's work. 

I can't imagine having a dog. 
It's sad, I feel guilty, and I wish I could be a better cat-mom.


Niko and Theo (at about 3 weeks old)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

any excuse to go to Cheesecake Factory

I've talked before about the day after our 6th wedding anniversay and how special it was, because it was the day we got our BFP (big fat positive, in case you missed it).  That morning, I couldn't hardly believe my eyes (which were still fuzzy with sleep and blurry with no vision correction), but at the same time, I knew exactly what I saw.  It was nothing out of the ordinary for me to take a pregnancy test as soon as I possibly could, more or less to put the anticipation of not knowing one way or the other out of my mind.  That fateful morning, I saw 2 lines.  I tried to think of ways that a false positive could have happened while I took a shower.  I think I smiled the whole time I was in the shower because I knew better. 

(not me.  or my pregnancy test. just for effect)

When I got out of the shower, I called my sweet husband into the bathroom and tried to look confused.  I told him I wasn't wearing my contacts and asked him if the test looked like it was showing one line or two.  He looked at it and said assertively "two."  I continued playing dumb and asked him to look at the instructions to see what two lines meant.  He looked at the instructions, then at the stick, then at me, and repeated that cycle about three times.  By the third go-round, I'm pretty sure I had a huge grin on my face and we started hugging and laughing.  Neither one of us could believe that we finally got what we had wanted so desperately for the last several months. 

That day was possibly one of the worst days for me at work, but I handled it with grace.  Nothing could spoil my good mood.  After work, I took another pregnancy test, which turned positive immediately, and that was reason enough to go to Cheesecake Factory.

We kept our little secret to ourselves for about 24 hours...the next morning (after I did one more test, just to be sure), I started making phone calls to my family and very best friends.  That night we told my in-laws over dinner and surprised them, as they didn't know that we were trying.  Surprising people was one of the funnest (jury's still funnest a word?) parts of getting that BFP. 

We waited to announce our news to acquaintances, Facebook, our employers, etc. until we got the thumbs up from the doctor at my 12 week check up.  Truth be told, I was terribly afraid that I would miscarry.  I was pessimistic after trying for several months to conceive and afraid that whatever made it take so long might also create a hostile environment for our little embryo.  I tried not to get attached to the idea of the baby - pretty tough thing to attempt.  The anxiety let up after 12 weeks and we were happy to share our news with the world.

That 8 weeks from the time we found out until the time we were able to shout it out was undoubtedly the longest part of my pregnancy.  I wanted so bad to be able to tell everyone and to look pregnant, because I certainly felt pregnant.  I don't know why people say pregnancy feels like it lasts forever...overall, I thought it zoomed by in a flash.  Good thing too, because I remember feeling quite miserable towards the end.

I guess that's a story for another day.  Hope your day is a good one!


Monday, September 13, 2010

beginning of the end

I've been dealing with an internal struggle about breastfeeding for several weeks now, as I have witnessed a decrease in the amount of milk output during pumping sessions.  I thought maybe the pump was defective, or maybe my breasts have gotten smaller since I've lost a little weight so the flanges were too large and therefore not working most efficiently.  I've thought maybe I'm drinking too much caffeine, or not enough water.  I've thought maybe I'm not getting enough rest or eating right.  I've tried altering everything and the milk supply continues to decrease.

Coinciding in a parallel fashion with the fall in production has been a rise in Theo's episodes of waking in the night.  More and more over the last two weeks, he has been increasingly difficult to calm when he wakes.  We thought his stomach hurt or he was getting more teeth.  Maybe we were spoiling him and providing too much "help" in getting him to sleep...rocking, singing, swaying, shushing (all of the above at the same time).  It's not the end of the world to have to do that for 20 minutes at 8:30pm, but it's a big deal at 1am, then again at 1:45am, and 3 or 4 more times between then and 7am, when we finally just give up and get up for the day.

So we decided to try a few nights of letting him cry to see if he could figure out how to get himself to sleep without so much parental intervention.  It's awful.  We've seen a decrease in the amount of time it takes him to get to sleep, but the 1am waking is a given.  And letting him cry is no longer an option at that point, because it's brutal.  He's seriously pissed.  I broke the rules and ended up picking him up, nursing him back to sleep, etc. several nights.  He was not going back to sleep otherwise.

Well, we took him to the doctor for his 6 month checkup last Thursday and I was shocked to find out that he had gone from the 50th percentile to the 72nd percentile for height and from the 25th percentile to the 13th percentile for weight.  My jaw dropped.  The doctor could see that I was distressed by this and I commented that he had dropped by half.  The doctor explained that you have to look at the numbers out of 100% and that he had actually only dropped by about 10%.  He also mentioned that he was not concerned as he would rather see long, lean babies than fat babies, and it wasn't as if he had quit gaining...he just wasn't gaining at the same pace he had been the first 4 months of life.  We began talking about his night waking and what it could be related to.  At that moment, it clicked.  I realized that he's not getting enough to eat during the day because my milk supply has dropped.  I suggested this to the doctor and he agreed that I was probably right if I had noticed a substantial dip in my pumped supply.  It's a bit perplexing, because he is always satisfied when he finishes eating.  I assumed he was getting plenty to eat as he never complained and always chose when to un-latch on his own.

He suggested feeding him a bottle from our frozen reserves before bed, or to begin supplementing with formula.  Yep, he dropped the F-bomb.  Up until now, I have been hell bent against using formula.  When all of this came together for me at the doctor's office, I finally felt at peace with it.  I feel confident that if I was a stay-at-home-mom, I could have made it to a year.  But there's something about pumping and being away from your baby for 20 hours a day through the week that confuses the body.  I feel proud of what I have been able to accomplish up to this point.  We have a month's worth of frozen breastmilk that he will be able to drink at the babysitter's house and I will continue pumping and nursing until nothing is coming out (or until he turns 1, whichever comes first). Otherwise, he will be eating more solids and having some formula.

I'm okay with it.  Or at least as okay as I'm going to be.  I'm not going to let my stubbornness and determination about breastfeeding until he turns 1 get in the way of my baby's growth.  Last night he slept through the night for the first time in over a month.  He also had two 4 ounce bottles of formula during the day yesterday.

I'll just be glad to start getting some sleep again...until the next phase.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

that's reality, sweetheart.

I used to haaaaaaate the Duggars.  You know who I'm talking about, right?  The good old fashioned, wholesome family featured on the reality show, 19 Kids and Counting on TLC?  The sight of them used to make my skin crawl and my mood fowl.  I thought it was sick, twisted, and disgusting that they breed the way they do.  At first it was like the perpetual trainwreck that I could not turn away from, but I have to admit...I enjoy watching the show.  It's the family I love to hate...and love.  Many of the things they do still annoy me but I must say, I've learned a thing or two from mama Michelle. 

What I dislike and/or disagree with:
 - Overpopulation (really...what if we ALL had 19+ kids!?)
 - Making the older kids raise the younger much for being a teenager!
 - Not kissing until your married...really?  Who does that?  I can understand the moral argument or desire to be abstinent from sex prior to marriage, but what if this mate has rancid breath?  Totally intolerable, rancid breath.  Deal-breaker!! Hello!?!?
 - Stating in your vows that you will let the Lord determine the number and timing of your children (trust me, if said Lord had anything to do with choosing the families that are able to recreate over and over and over and over, I wouldn't have a job.  Hmm...maybe he gives the guy with the high sperm count the rancid breath...that might work).
 - Never allowing your children (or exposing them to the opportunity) to meet people that are not like them.
 - The whole courtship thing - they don't date, they mate.  They literally choose a person and then "court" them with the intention to marry them right off the bat.  I get not wasting your time but is it really a sin to explore the options?  Hell, you aren't going to kiss them so what are you risking?
- Their house is a compound, complete with a cafeteria-style kitchen and laundromat.  I'm not saying it's wrong, but it's definitely not homey. Oh, and all of the kids have to keep the whole house clean.  I don't think I ever see Michelle cleaning.  Probably hard to though, when there's always a baby on your boob.  Or in your belly.  Or both.
- Did I just hear that they are looking forward to having more children?  After their latest, Baby Josie, almost died?  Michelle, you can't hold them in past 24 weeks's still unknown if Josie will have lifelong health problems as a result of her extreme prematurity.  That vagina needs to be closed for business. 

What I agree with and/or admire:
 - They have NO debt.  None. 
 - Those kids are the most well-behaved kids I've ever seen.
 - It doesn't seem like being on TV for so many years has changed them or compromised what they value.
 - The entire family has a positive attitude about everything.  All the time. 
 - Mom and Dad Duggar are madly in love with each other, and the kids know it because they show it.
 - The parents teach their children to carefully consider their reactions to situations that are out of their control.  This one is my favorite, so I'm going to go off on a tangent now.  Consider yourself forewarned. 

For example, what good does screaming at a vehicle that cut you off do?  It might make you feel better, but it makes everyone else in the car feel tense.  Is it necessary to do that in front of your child?  I think not.  What does that teach them about dealing with life when it doesn't go their way?  Throw a tantrum.  (Forget the fact that people are absolutely loony and will not hesitate to bust a cap in your tailpipe).

Think about how often we overreact to the most insignificant things.  I'm as guilty as anyone else, but I'm trying to work on it.  I don't want my kid to think I'm going to blow up if he screws up during his soccer game or spills kool-aid on the couch (bad example, he will not have kool-aid on the couch under my watch.  Ever).  I don't want my mood or my reaction to make people (especially my family) afraid to approach me with unfortunate news.  I strive to be more understanding.  More patient.  More accepting. 

One episode of 19 Kids and Counting in particular got me thinking about all of this.  There had been an ice storm and the weight of the ice caused lots of limbs to fall off of a large tree and create a huge mess in the Duggar yard.  I remember the endlessly cheesy dad, Jim Bob Duggar, saying something along the lines that he could get really upset about how inconvenient it was to have to clean it up, but instead he chose to be thankful that they had the equipment and the ability to clean it up and that the tree didn't fall on their home or injure anyone.  Hmm...good point.  I think at my house, we would have just complained.

Enough about the Duggars.  Here's some comic relief after all that seriousness.  Whew.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

6 month letter

Dear Theo,

I can't believe you've been here for half of a year already.  It's so strange how much faster time seems to move now that you're a part of my life.  Before you, not much changed in the span of six months.  But now?  Now you have evolved into a completely different person than the one you were just 26 weeks ago. 

Six months ago you couldn't smile your sweet baby smile.  Or laugh.  Or sit up.  Or bite.  Or eat food (pureed, albeit).  Or sit in your carseat for 5 seconds without wailing.  Or entertain yourself for 5 seconds.  You couldn't sit in the big boy stroller.  Or stay awake for more than an hour (unless it was the middle of the night...then, my boy...then, you had stamina).  You wore the teensiest clothes and they were loose.  You have doubled your birth weight and then some.  You're more than half a foot taller than you were back then.  What if I did that every six months?  See what I mean!?

Your first spring and summer have zoomed past us.  You have no clue that it's about to get bitter cold here in the midwest.  The second six months of your life will be spent in sweaters and mittens and you'll be wrapped up in blankets.  The walks through our neighborhood will become more sparse as the temperature drops.  The sun will sink down behind the bare trees early in the evening.  You will smell new smells, like leaves burning and hot apple cider. 

Your first Halloween, Thanksgiving, steps, words, Christmas, solid foods, and birthday are all still ahead of us!  I know you are going to bring us more and more joy as time continues to fly. 

It's a funny thing, "knowing" you.  When I was pregnant, I could predict your waking and sleeping cycles.  I jokingly reprimanded you for shoving your entire leg between my ribs.  Moments after you were born, I remember thinking that I had known you my whole life and what a relief it was to finally see you, hear you, kiss you, and hold you in my arms.  Two weeks later, I thought I was really getting to know you well as we were figuring out this whole how-to-be-a-mommy/how-to-live-on-the-outside-of-mommy thing.  Now I look back and realize how much your personality has grown.  And guess what?  You can't even talk yet.  Aside from the joyous squeals and your backseat babblings of "ay-ay-ay-ay-ay," you haven't told me much at all.  Not one story, not one joke, not one synopsis of how your day was, or what food you like best.  I can't wait for you to run up to me and give me a hug by wrapping your little arms around my legs.  15 years from now, you might not think I know you at all, but I will always try.  And I will always like you, no matter what you think or how you feel. 

This 6 month birthday of yours coincides with mommy deciding to finally clean out your closet.  I had no idea it would be so emotional for me!  I don't typically save things that I don't need, but it was hard parting with ANYTHING of yours.  You are precious, so all the things that represent you are too.  I will have to work on that, as we are already running out of room.  Now your closet is free from newborn layettes and 0-3 month onesies.  I found myself hugging your tiny outfits to my chest, then running to the next room to show your daddy with a half-smile/half-frown on my face, saying "remember when he wore this!?"  "Remember when he was this tiny!?" Or more accurately, "I can't believe he was ever this tiny!"

The truth is, Sweet Pea, you are still tiny.  I can hold you close and smother you with kisses and you don't try to get away (well, sometimes you're squirmy but usually, you think it's hilarious).  I can carry you on my hip as we stroll down the driveway to check the mail.  You fit on my lap and in my arms.  One day, probably not so far away, I will look back at pictures from this time in our lives and swoon over how small and sweet you were. 

Because I am so painfully aware of that, there's a cloud of sadness that hangs out right next the the rays of happiness and joy that you bring to my life.  Sharing this life with you is a gift and I feel like the luckiest mommy ever, just being able to do so.  But I know, before too long, you will grow up and not need me like you do now.  I hope you will always need your mommy in some way. 

I love you, Sugar.  Happy Six Month Birthday.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

if this doesn't confuse him, nothing will

How in the world will baby Theodore ever learn his name when he has so many?

Itty Bitty Boo (my husband is Big Boo...I'm Little Boo, so this one emerged when I was pregnant)

"Buddy" and variations:
 - Little Buddy
 - Bud
 - Bubs
 - Bub-Bub
 - Bubsy
 - Bubsers
 - Bubsy Wubsy
 - Bubberton

"Sweet Pea" and variations:
 - Sweet Pete
 - Sweet Peezus
 - Sweetie Petey
 - Sweetie Bee-bee

"Sugar" and variation:
 - Sugie

"Theo" and variations of Theodore and Theodore Jack:
 - T-Doh'
 - T-O
 - Theodoh' (Thee-uh-doh')
 - Theodorable
 - T-Jack
 - TJ
 - The "O"
 - Theus
 - Theo Leo
 - Theo-doe-doe
 - T

Poor kid.  (Um, that's not one of the nicknames...just my final thought.)


Monday, September 6, 2010

to cry or not to cry? sigh...

By the time Theo was 10 weeks old, we could count on him sleeping through the night.  All we had to do was feed him, rock him for a few minutes, and lay him in his bed.  He was out like a light from 9pm-7am.  We were feeling pretty confident about our awesome routine and how well he was adhering to it.  

Around the time Theo hit 4 months, a couple of things happened.  First, I learned through work about a baby who was born 5 days before Theo who was a rule-following back sleeper.  He was placed on his belly at the babysitter and ended up becoming hypoxic and nearly died.  He had seizures and suffered irreversible brain damage and will forever be a different baby, child, and adult.  And that was the end of Theo sleeping on his belly.  

His adjustment to back sleeping was fair to good.  Better than expected, I guess.  There were a few rough nights but it was less than a week and he was sleeping through the night again.  Just when we thought things were back on track, he started teething.  Life has never been the same.  

He started waking up repeatedly throughout the night whimpering and whining.  We would put his pacifier back in his mouth and he would easily fall back asleep.  And the hubby would go back to sleep.  But me?  When I wake up in the night, I am on high alert.  Since I had Theo, I can't easily go back to sleep after he's been awake.  I think it's anxiety that as soon as I go to sleep I will have to get up again, which is even more exhausting than just staying awake.  

But for the last two months, Theo is needing more and more attention to get back to sleep.  Rocking.  Singing.  Bouncing.  Pacifier replacements.  All of this is fine at 8:30pm but not at 3am.  But we do it instead of letting him cry because it's faster.  Lately, it hasn't been working.  This is where we are now...

Last week I decided to try a modified version of "crying it out," also known as Ferberizing, which involves going into his room at set intervals and saying the same thing to him so he is reassured, but never picking him up.  The first night, it went so much smoother than I expected.  He cried, which didn't amount to much more than moaning and groaning, for about 25 minutes and then he went to sleep.  The next night, it was bloody murder and I picked him up.  The next night it was bloody murder and I picked him up and ended up nursing him.  So much for Ferber. Then he started throwing the bloody murder screaming fits during the day.  We have been averaging 4 hours of sleep a night with Theo's ups and downs.  Tonight, I stuck to my guns and let him cry again.  I checked on him every 5-6 minutes for an HOUR.  It was torture for both of us.  His entire face was soaked with tears and every time I went in his room, the crying got more intense.  I knew he wasn't hungry and he had been in a good mood all day so I was pretty certain he wasn't in pain.

But the thing is, you can't know that for sure.  He looks so desperate.  I want to help him be able to self-soothe.  I need to get more sleep.  But how do I know if he is in pain or if he is just so tired and he's not getting the cuddling that he's used to, so that makes him hysterical?  It is impossible to know and I keep going back and forth about this.  

Is it a growth spurt? Is it a behavior?  Is he in pain?  Should I pick him up?  If I do, am I reinforcing the behavior, in turn making both of our lives more difficult, or am I giving my infant the attention he needs?

No one said it would be easy.  Now I understand why.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

does BD mean Baby Dance or Bed Down?

Just wondering, because there are so many acronyms that you learn when you obsess over having a baby... anyway...

Before we were even married in 2003, DH (dear husband) and I had a ten year plan.  I don't think we ever called it that, but we had talked about how we hoped things would play out.  I would graduate from college in 2 years.  We would start trying for a baby in 4 years, and deliver that bouncing bundle of joy in no more than 5 years, and so on and so forth...

Well, it took 4 years to graduate from college.  When we had been married four years, I had been at my job for 2 months and wouldn't qualify for FMLA unless I worked there for 1 year at the time the baby was born.  Even then, I didn't feel right getting pregnant at the same time I was just getting my feet wet with my new social work-y, super stressful job.  Not to mention the fact that we. just. weren't. ready.

After 5 years, we started talking about it and decided that we would start TTC (trying to conceive) in the Fall of '08, because, well, wouldn't it be lovely to give birth in the Summer of '09?  We could put little sunbonnets on our newborn baby and life would be all daisies and butterflies.

The Fall of '08 rolled around and I heard about an Aflac disability policy that would mean I could get paid a nice little chunk of change for my maternity leave, so I signed up.  Problem:  You could give birth no less than 10 months after the policy activated.  Of course, to be safe, it seemed like the responsible (and non-money-wasting) thing to do to wait 2 months instead of 1, just in case said baby was born 4 weeks early.  Because naturally, I was going to conceive the very first try.

With the way things worked out, we ended up not being able or ready to start ttc until late November 2008.  Not too shabby...just in time for that Summer '09 babe.  I had thought of all kinds of cute ways to announce at Christmas to the in-laws and my family that we were expecting and knock their baby booties off with the surprise.  Two days before Christmas... AF (aunt Flo).  And of course she was 4 days late, just to be a wench.

No big deal, must have just been a fluke.  Our timing was off or something.  You know, because, you've spent your ENTIRE adult life trying NOT to get pregnant so it seems like the first time you have totally unprotected sex, BOOM!  Knocked up.  Uh uh.

January:  BFN (big fat negative), AF showed up
February:  lots of BFNs because AF didn't show up at all
March: BFN, AF.
April: BFN, AF.
May: BFN, AF.
June: BFN, AF.  And lots of crying because it had been 7 months since we started TTC and nothing.  This was supposed to be easy.  It's what a woman's body is biologically created to do, right?  Six unsuccessful cycles and trust me, we weren't just "winging it," we were taking advantage of just about every product on the market that is intended to increase fertility and chances of getting that ever-evasive BFP (getting the hang of this?). 

I researched fertility on the internet.  I talked to my doctor.  I read forums and Yahoo! Answers.  I bought books about fertility.  And then a friend bought me the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which is all about charting your ass off and taking your temperature every day, etc.  I won't go into the ooey gooey (heh heh) details of it all, but I started charting.  Coincidence or not, I don't know, but ...

July '09: BFP!!!!

The day we found out was the day after our 6th wedding anniversary and I kicked myself for not obsessively taking the test the day before I was technically supposed to, like I had every month before.  I was in shock and disbelief.

It was 8 months from the time we started trying until we got that BFP and it felt like a lifetime.  Every month was full of anticipation and heartbreak, followed by growing feelings of desperation.  And we were still in the "normal" range of how long it takes a couple to conceive.  I cannot imagine struggling with fertility for years on end like some folks we have known.  I was already trying to decide if fertility treatments were in our future and if that was the road we would choose if we were unable to conceive on our own.  I had received some disappointing news from my doctor when I had labs done and had begun to give up.  Already....after 6 unsuccessful cycles!  I feel for those who have to try for a long time to get pregnant, because once you have that desire in your heart, you can't turn it off.

My pregnancy story to come at a later date...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i melted

He's almost six months old now. It's happy, it's sad. Every day he does something new.  We had a "first" yesterday and it was probably my favorite one so far.

Normally I pick him up in the afternoon but yesterday, his daddy did so I'm sure he was surprised and a little confused.  When they got home I was drying my hair.  As they walked into the doorway of the bathroom, my baby made eye contact with me.  So what, right? 


His big bluish greenish grayish brownish (I wish they would hurry up and decide already...) eyes lit up and I could see a sparkle in them.  His tiny little mouth broke into a wide open grin and I could see his two teensy, brilliantly white teeth poking out of his slobbery pink gums.  I smiled back and leaned towards him to kiss his sweet smelling forehead.  At that moment, he reached.

He reached towards me with both hands and placed them on my cheeks.  He extended his arms further as if to say "there you are, I missed you!"  And then he leaned his entire upper body towards his momma, arms still extended, and open mouthed, toothy grin still in tact.  How could something so simple make both of us so happy?

I don't think I've ever loved so much or felt so loved.  That's not meant to take anything away from anyone I love or anyone who has loved me.  If you're a momma too, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  I'm gonna read this and remember this feeling when he's 15 and can't stand to be seen with me.